Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez have been rivals since they were kids: first in a race around the Catalunya Circuit until both made it to the world championship.
Last year, Espargaro landed at the headquarters of Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) in a very difficult period for the Japanese manufacturer, especially due to an injury to Marc Marquez at the start of MotoGP 2020.
In his first season with factory HRC team Repsol Honda, Polyccio finished 12th in the final standings, with the podium he won in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (GP).
His achievement is far below Marquez, who just made a comeback in the third series of MotoGP 2021 in Portugal. The Baby Alien was able to provide four podiums, three of which were winners. He finished seventh in the championship with a 42-point lead over Espargaro.
Now both are preparing for the pre-season test which will start in just the next 20 days in Sepang, Malaysia. Although Marquez’s presence has not been confirmed by Honda because of the vision problems he has suffered since an accident during practice last November.
Espargaro, who always watches Marc Marquez from afar, had the opportunity to analyze his partner’s performance with the available data. And this has changed his point of view.
“I’ve always competed with Marc, but being in the same shape, in the same team, has given me a more real perspective than I could have had before,” Polyccio told Motorsport.com.
Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“There are situations where I’m surprised by how fast he can go and there are other situations where I wish he could be faster.
“For example, in very hot conditions, with less grip, I think Marc needs to rely a lot on the rear, like me, to go fast. And I realized that the opposite happened.
“He needs a little grip to go fast and that’s something very difficult,” added Espargaro, who has spent the winter looking for feeling good with low grip force on RC213V.
“He’s a great racer and technician. Now I understand why he trains his way and does other things. Being his partner allowed me to understand the technique he uses to go so fast.”